§ Mr. David Nicholson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is in a position to announce his decision on the Blackdown hills area of outstanding natural beauty designation order submitted to him by the Countryside Commission.
§ Mr. Baldry
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has today confirmed the order that will designate the Blackdown hills as an area of outstanding natural beauty. The designation covers an area of 370 sq km on the borders of Somerset and Devon. The Blackdown hills are important for their natural beauty and unspoilt rural character which the designation will help to secure.